The trio of Sarah Blackwood, Chris Wilkie and Steve Hillier first came to prominence with their synthpop cover of BRICK SUPPLY’s ‘Not So Manic Now’ which hit No18 in early 1996. Their debut album ‘Disgraceful’ also featured the dreamy single ‘Stars’ and the kitchen sink drama of ‘The Day I See You Again’ which was recently covered by CLAUDIA BRÜCKEN on her album ‘The Lost Are Found’.
Their sound stood out in the guitar dominated era of Britpop and the marvellous lead single ‘No More Talk’ from their second album ‘Goodbye’ showed a maturer edge. But DUBSTAR found themselves being overshadowed by label mates BLUR whose phenomenal success was diverting resources and support within Food Records. A third album ‘Make It Better’ slipped out almost unnoticed in 2000 and the band split shortly after.
Sarah Blackwood joined Kate Holmes in female duo TECHNIQUE who, following their DEPECHE MODE support slots in 2002, became CLIENT. With their Cold War uniform chic and stark electronic sound, they recorded four albums, achieved cult success in Europe and supported German electronic pioneers KARL BARTOS and DAF along the way.
In what appeared to be a hiatus from CLIENT in 2010, Sarah Blackwood started working with Chris Wilkie and Steve Hillier again. Always adept at cover versions as exemplified by their B-sides ‘A Certain Sadness’ and ‘La Boheme’ plus a superb cover version of GARY NUMAN’s ‘Everyday I Die’ for the ‘Random’ tribute album, DUBSTAR returned with a reworking of ‘I’m In Love with a German Film Star’ for Amnesty International Catalunya. It was announced not long after that Sarah Blackwood had left CLIENT and that DUBSTAR were returning with new material. Although they have played several low-key live dates already, this London show acts as a precursor to DUBSTAR’s brand new album (working title of ‘United States Of Being’) which is currently being finished with noted producer Stephen Hague who worked with them on ‘Disgraceful’ and ‘Goodbye’.
Very much under rated in their time, DUBSTAR’s comeback and new songs are eagerly anticipated.
DUBSTAR play The Lexington, 96-98 Pentonville Road, London N1 9JB on Monday 15th April 2013. Tickets priced £12.50 are available from 10.00am http://www.wegottickets.com/event/209722
Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th February 2013